What Will Happen?
We got some fascinating insight into the McKinsey corporate bulldozer process, from people who have experienced it firsthand. First, look for your chance to put your thumb on the consulting scale: "The McKinsey team and the management team will usually form a joint working group. That working group will often have several lower level people from the client working on it to gather facts, run analyses, and so forth. Get on that team. At least you'll see what's coming, and at best you might influence it."
But don't expect to feel too important: "The big firms don't bother interviewing individual employees (a la the Bobs in Office Space) - they'll gut entire departments that they deem strategically insignificant or issue edicts like 'cut out 50% of management at this level.' The actual firing is all done by the client firm's management (McK would never get their hands dirty that way)." Another vet confirms: "McKinsey doesn't give a shit, they are not interested in you. They want to get rid of entire divisions, not individuals."
What Can You Do?
Be Nice to the Consultants—It does not pay to be an asshole, unfortunately. One tipster advises you to "cooperate with the consultants (they always report back to senior management)." Another survivor says, " If interviewed by a McKenzie, answer everything question nicely. If you hold back, or are snotty, they fire your ass. Threee of my former collegues tried the stonewall approach and got canned."
Suck Up—Kiss ass, Kiss ass, Kiss ass. "Suck up to your own superiors, and their superiors, and theirs." It's just that simple. A brown nose could give you a minute edge on your fellow layoff-eligibles.
Practice Subtle Backstabbing—You don't want to be seen as a desperate bastard ready to sell out any and all of your colleagues to save your own job (even though you are). You just want to plant the seed. Take it from someone who's been there: " Don't talk shit about individuals, talk shit about DIVISIONS in a passive-aggressive way. Saying things like: 'Those fellows that work in [blank] division are really nice guys, but I've worked here for five years and I still don't know what they do' is a winner." Corporate espionage at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
Watch Office Space—Several of you sent this tip. Har har. This will only have value if you can bribe a McKinseyite with, like, a hijacked truck full of Office Space DVDs.
Slut It Up—"If all else fails: Find out who the senior partner at McKinsey is, and fuck them." This is experience speaking, people.
Despair—You may find it strangely comforting to accept the fact that—even if you employ all of these countermeasures—you may still get fucked by McKinsey, and not just by the partner you fucked on purpose. "As a consultant for [firm] who's worked on several optimization cases, I wish the Conde Nasters luck. That being said, there's little they can do personally to avoid the axe," says one tipster. He should know! Need more proof? This comes from a former McKinsey consultant: "it's a good idea to release any sense of control you might have over your future. Being nice, being useful, and doing a great job all have nothing do with it - they will be deciding what the company should be doing, not making HR-type decisions about who's good at their job. If you work in a function that they decide doesn't need doing, it doesn't matter how nice/useful/great-at-your-job you are - that function will be eliminated."
Your job: Enjoy it while it lasts.